Orographic Fog Sunset Carn Fadryn.

P1200440

At some point this summer, when I’ve been watching a sunset from a high vantage point, it occurred to me that in all the years we’ve been climbing Carn Fadryn and enjoying the Llyn Peninsula’s fabulous sunsets, we’ve never thought to combine the two. So I arrived in North Wales with an ambition. When I suggested it to Andy, his response made me think that he had perhaps been thinking exactly the same thing. Most of the rest of our party were keen too.

We chose an evening for our climb, but on the day, the weather didn’t seem too promising. For much of the day, Carn Fadryn had been completely obscured by cloud. Then the cloud began to lift, but a persistent cap of cloud hid the top part of the hill. Briefly Carn Fadryn cleared completely, giving us a degree of hope, but by the time we set-off the cloud had once more enveloped almost all of the hill and we climbed in dense, wet mist…

P1200370

I suppose we might have abandoned our idea, but it’s a short climb and this walk, up Little S’s ‘Birthday Hill’, is a fixture of our holidays. He wouldn’t forgive us if we didn’t climb it at some point, although this was still a few days before his actual birthday.

As we approached the summit however, something in the light seemed to promise more than we could have anticipated…

P1200369

Maybe the cloud would clear…

P1200371

But it was a bit more complicated than that. I’m not sure whether I’ve ever wondered before about how, on a windy day, a hill can retain a permanent cap of cloud. In fact, that isn’t what was happening at all. The wind was driving moist air from over the sea and as that air hit the slopes of Carn Fadryn it was forced to rise – called, apparently, orographic lift – and cooled down in the process, causing moisture to condensate out and hence forming clouds. Those clouds were almost immediately dispersed by the wind, but were soon replaced by new clouds formed by the wind following on behind.

The effect, from our point of view, was of sudden clearing and disappearing views. The next three photos, taken in quick succession, give some idea of what we could see.

P1200379

P1200380

P1200381

I’ve enthused many times before about the wonderful views from Carn Fadryn; on this occasion we only had brief and partial views, but it was completely exhilarating.

Whilst it wasn’t raining, it might as well have been: the air was so damp that we soon realised that we were soaked.

P1200409

We couldn’t see the sun, a high blanket of cloud was hiding it, but we could see a line of light reflected in the sea, a sort of secondhand sunset.

P1200415

P1200432

It was cold. The kids had sort-out shelter on the leeward side of the summit rocks and were agitating for a beginning to our descent. Inappropriately clothed in just t-shirt and shorts, I could see their point of view and eventually, reluctantly, joined them on the path back towards the cars. Only the Adopted Yorkshire Man and the Shandy Sherpa stayed on the summit, but as I walked away I heard more whoops of excitement from behind me.

P1200439

The sun had dropped below the high cloud and was suffusing the fog with colour.

P1200443

TBF and I turned back for the top, so that we could watch the show…

P1200466

It was all too brief, the sun soon dropping behind another band of cloud…

P1200464

But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before.

P1200476

It wasn’t the warm, peaceful sunset viewing I had envisaged, but probably all the more memorable for that.

P1200482

Post sunset sky from the camp-site later.

Advertisements
Orographic Fog Sunset Carn Fadryn.

The Calf from Howgill

P1200105

Holy Trinity Church Howgill.

P1200106

I was surprised by the plain white interior – English churches are usually so austere that they don’t stretch to plaster or paint. It was only built in 1839, but a board inside suggests that there’s been a chapel here for much longer…

P1200109

Subsequent, lazy internet research suggests that this house…

P1200111

…on the far side of Chapel Beck, was once itself the chapel.

P1200110

I was intrigued by this bike, which was propped up by the church; it looked to be in working order, but the saddle, whilst it has springs, has no cover.

This was the evening after my Langdale swimming excursion. The forecast had been once again good, but in actuality there was a good deal more cloud about. In fact, as I drove along the M6 towards the Howgill Fells I was a bit taken aback to see that the sky behind them was absolutely black – it looked as though an almighty thunderstorm was on the way and I didn’t even have a coat with me. Fortunately, by the time I’d parked in the tiny hamlet of Howgill, the skies had cleared considerably.

P1200112

The Howgill Fells.

If you look at the map of my route at the bottom you’ll notice an apparent loop at one point, which is where I made a navigational error. I crossed the parched field above when I shouldn’t have, leading me to a gate with a sign on its far side saying ‘Private No Access’. This wouldn’t have been so terrible if I hadn’t been attracting the attentions of a particularly persistent Buzzard. The first time I was strafed by an angry Buzzard was in 2010, so I managed 44 years without ever upsetting any Buzzards, but these days I almost expect to be harassed by them when I’m out, it happens so often. I’m beginning to feel paranoid about it. This one adopted different tactics to any of the others – swooping toward me several times in three separate places, and after the first relatively mild shot across the bows, which was preceded by a few warning kew, kews, it came silently and, on one occasion, from behind. The last time, I could see it way across the valley…

P1200113

…and then watched it come back on a bee-line straight towards me, at eye-level, which was a bit disconcerting. I suppose the fact that this has happened several times without any injuries on my part should be reassuring, but, in the moment, that didn’t occur to me, and I took to my heels, which I’m sure was all very amusing for anyone who saw me from the nearby farmhouse of Castley.

Anyway, this…

P1200114

…is the path I should have been on.

This…

P1200115

…is where Bram Rigg Beck and Swarth Greaves Beck flow into Chapel Beck which ultimately flows into The Lune. Chapel Beck is also fed by Calf Beck, Long Rigg Beck, Stranger Gill, Crooked Ashmere Gills and Long Rigg Gill all of which ultimately feed the Lune. You can perhaps tell from the photo that I was quite a way above Chapel Beck, but sadly the path forsook all of that hard-earned height and dropped down to cross the stream, and, even more sadly, I went with it….

P1200116

…to climb White Fell, that long shoulder stretching away on the right of the photo.

It was a long, hot and sticky climb, enlivened by more views of a Buzzard, who, this time, was more interested in hunting prey than in persecuting me.

P1200121

P1200129

Arant Haw. The right hand ridge is my descent route.

P1200131

Looking back down my ascent route to the Lune valley from near the top.

image

Bram Rigg and Arrant Haw pano.

P1200140

Calf Top.

The small tarn close to the summit of Calf Top was completely dried out.

P1200143

Looking back to Calf Top from Bram Rigg Top.

P1200145

P1200146

The Three Peaks from Calders.

P1200148

Arant Haw from Calders. Black Combe on the right-hand horizon, Arnside Knott and the Kent Estuary in the centre. The lake in the distance is Killington Lake.

Clouds massed again and it got a bit gloomy, but the Lakeland Fells, although quite distant, seemed very sharp and individual hills, like the Langdale Pikes and the Scafells and Great Gable, stood out clearly…

P1200154

The Eastern Fells are not quite so distinctive…

P1200157

It was getting quite late now, but the sun had dropped below the level of the cloud and the views from Arant Haws and, better yet, from the ridge off Arant Haws were stunning.

P1200160

P1200162

Tebay Gorge and Howgill Fells.

P1200163

Howgill Fells.

P1200164

Arant Haw.

P1200165

Lune Valley, Morecambe Bay, Arnside Knott, Kent Estuary, Killington Lake, Black Combe.

P1200167

Tebay Gorge.

P1200169

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 21.44.11

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 21.47.52

Nine miles (ish) and a fair bit of up and down, Not bad for a Thursday evening.

The Calf from Howgill

Another Orchid Hunt

P1190753

Cartmell Fell, the Kent and Whitbarrow Scar from Arnside Knott.

An unexpected window for an evening stroll. I set out intending to walk around the Knott, rather than up it, but, as you can see from the photo above, I did eventually climb to the top. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Some more photos from the garden first…

P1190695

As if to prove my point about fledglings lacking caution, this little ball of fluff, a juvenile blue tit, sat in the Sumach in our garden and didn’t move or flinch as I approached with my camera despite noisy entreaties from a parent bird.

P1190697

P1190694

For once, I didn’t start from home, but gave the walk a kick-start by parking in a lay-by on the south side of the Knott. From there the view of Arnside Tower…

P1190699

…makes it seem to still be in a good state of repair, rather than the semi-ruin which the view from the far side, which I more usually post, suggests.

I took the gradually ascending path which has become something of a favourite, but then cut back down into the fields of Heathwaite…

P1190706

P1190701

There were lots of Common Spotted-orchids, here seen with Quaking Grass – they often seem to be companions. I’d also been tipped off, by Craig who looks after the local National Trust properties and was one of the attendees of the Grass course I did, that there were some less common orchids growing there.

These…

P1190708

…which have been protected from grazing rabbits…

P1190724

…are Fragrant Orchids, which I’ve previously seen at Tarn Sike nature reserve last summer. There were also some growing outside the netting, rather bedraggled specimens, but I was able to confirm for myself the strong carnation like scent which gives them their name.

Nearby another netted area held…

P1190719

…Lesser Butterfly-orchids, another flower which I was seeing for only the second time, having unexpectedly come across one in a tiny churchyard, also last summer.

There were a few Northern Marsh-orchids nearby too, but they were in the shade and my photos came out even less sharply than the ones above, so I’ve omitted them.

P1190713

Dropwort.

I was also hoping to find the Spiked Speedwell which I’d seen flowering here last summer, another first last year, but couldn’t find any, which was not entirely a surprise since Craig had told me that the long spell of hot, dry weather was adversely affecting the speedwell.

P1190728

Looking south along the coast.

P1190729

A poser. The shape and colour suggests Northern Marsh-orchid, but the markings on the flower look like Common Spotted-orchid. They do hybridise, so that’s probably the explanation.

P1190732

By now the light was glorious.

P1190733

But the sun was beginning to sink.

P1190734

I had one more spot to check out. Craig had perfectly described a patch of bracken, by the path in Redhill Pasture, where there were more Lesser Butterfly-orchids…

P1190744

The path continues to skirt the hill from here, but was in the shade, so I decided to climb so that I could keep the light for longer.

P1190749

A thrush’s anvil.

P1190752

A thrush.

I made an unfortunate choice, following a different path than the one I usually take, which petered out leaving me stranded in very tall bracken, which might not have been so bad were there not brambles and blackthorn growing concealed by the bracken.

Still, the views were worth it…

P1190753

P1190757

And there were wild strawberries to accompany the views – small but very tasty.

P1190766

Across Silverdale Moss to the Pennines.

Another Orchid Hunt

Heron Pike and Alcock Tarn

P1190097

Fairfield Horseshoe from Rydal Fell.

Another evening post-walk work. It was still quite warm. My plans centred around an evening swim. Northern Rail’s failings threw a spanner in the works, because a cancelled train left me driving the kids home first. Since I was at home and had some cooked chicken in the fridge, I decided to quickly throw together a salad to take with me to eat whilst I was out.

So, I was a bit later setting off than I usually am, and I still hadn’t decided where to go. I was trying to think of somewhere not too far away, with a shortish walk in, a good swimming spot, and which was likely to retain the sun as it began to sink. I couldn’t really think of anywhere which met all the criteria and, more by default than anything else, finally parked in Rydal, intending to visit Buckstones Jump. But I’d forgotten that the track we’d used when I took the boys there, has signs saying that it is a farm track only, with no public access. I stood and vacillated for a while. I could just trespass; would there be anyone about to notice me now? But in the end, I chickened out and changed my plan.

Not before I’d noticed this gnarly old Oak though…

P1190092

Or, more specifically, the fungi growing on a splintered part of the trunk…

P1190093

I’m pretty sure that this is Sulphur Polypore, or Chicken of the Woods, something else, like Herb Paris, that I’ve waited a long time to see. It’s allegedly good to eat and if I’d had a ladder with me, or a small boy adept at shinning up trees even, I would be able to report on the flavour. But I didn’t have either, so I shall have to wait again.

I consulted the map and realised that I could climb Heron Pike and then return via Alcock Tarn, giving what looked to be a fairly reasonable round, all sticking to western slopes, where I would keep the sun for longer.

The climb up Nab Scar was, frankly, too steep for a hot and sticky evening, but at least I was rewarded with views back to Wansfell and Windermere.

P1190095

I met a couple descending just before I took this photo; they were the last other walkers I saw all evening.

image

Nab Scar pano.

image

Heron Pike from Nab Scar.

image

Rydal Fell, Great Rigg, Fairfield, Hart Crag, and Dove Crag from Heron Pike.

P1190102

Heron Pike and Windermere from Rydal Fell.

On the top there was a welcome bit of breeze. Welcome, that is, until I wanted to sit down, make a brew and enjoy my salad and the views. Fortunately, I found a small hollow just off the top of Rydal Fell which was sheltered, in the sun, and had fine views of the Coniston and Langdale Fells, with the Scafell range beyond…

P1190105

My salad barely touched the sides, but making and drinking a cuppa took a while, which was a perfect excuse to sit in this peaceful spot and soak it all in.

I’ve been quite surprised to discover, retrospectively, that Nab Scar and Heron Pike are both Wainwrights and that, in addition, Rydal Fell is a Birkett. I might not have bothered if I’d paid any heed to wainwright in advance however:

“Heron Pike is a grassy mound on the long southern ridge of Fairfield. From no direction does it look like a pike or peak nor will herons be found there. It is a viewpoint of some merit but otherwise is of little interest.”

From Rydal Fell I almost doubled back on myself,  contouring around the western slopes of Heron Pike before descending towards Alcock tarn.

P1190109

Loughrigg, Coniston Fells, Grasmere, Alcock Tarn.

image

Alcock Tarn.

In Heaton Cooper’s marvellous guide to the tarns of the lake district you can discover that Alcock Tarn was once Butter Crags Tarn before it was dammed, by a Mr Alcock, and stocked with trout. AW, the Auld Whinger dismisses it as ‘a dreary sheet of water’. He must have been in a foul mood when he wrote up Heron Pike. In ‘A Bit of Grit on Haystacks’, an anthology edited by Dave Hewitt and published by Millrace Books to commemorate both the centenary of Wainwrights birth and the fiftieth anniversary of the first of his Pictorial Guides, appropriately The Eastern Fells, which contains the entry on Heron Pike, Harry Griffin tells a story, which he learned from a mutual friend, of Wainwright abandoning a round of the Fairfield Horseshoe and heading directly down to Alcock Tarn from Heron Pike in order to avoid Griffin, who was also a friend, because ‘he talks too much’. Nice chap.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Wainwright!

P1190113

Alcock Tarn. Dreary.

P1190114

Dropping down from Alcock Tarn I picked up the Old Corpse Road between Grasmere and Ambleside to take me back to Rydal. There are no photographs here because the sun, and with it the best of the light, had gone, but it’s a route which has appeared several times on the blog before, because this is one of my favourite low-level routes in the area.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 22.18.20

A little over 7 miles with around 550m of ascent.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 22.20.38

That evening, the valley of Rydal Beck soon disappeared into shadow, whilst I was in glorious sunshine on the ridge, so my choice turned out to be a fortuitous one. I have a pet theory about a different way to get to Buckstones Jump which I would like to try. I’m not sure when I will get around to it though.

Heron Pike and Alcock Tarn

Barbondale, Brownthwaite Pike, Casterton Stone Circle

P1180748

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Barbon.

More glorious May weather and another post-work Lune-Catchment wander. This was on a Thursday evening, the day after my photos from Kirkby Lonsdale in the previous post. You remember that I pointed out how Brownthwaite Pike dominates the view from Kirkby? Equally, Brownthwaite Pike has a great view over the Lune Valley and Morecambe Bay.

Years ago, when I was single, my evenings walks rarely took me any further than I could get, under my own steam, from my front door, but just occasionally I would pack up a meal and head out for a picnic on an easily accessible hill with a good view. Brownthwaite Pike was, I think, the place I visited most often: I could park high, at Bullpot Farm, and it was an easy walk from there.

P1180747

The lychgate.

This time, I would do it properly, starting from the village of Barbon.

P1180750

Female Blackbird.

P1180751

Barbon Beck, another tributary of the Lune.

P1180753

Bluebells!

P1180754

The right of way initially follows a track which is heading up to Barbon Manor. It’s metaled and even has barriers. I presume that this is the course used for the Barbon hill-climb, an annual motor-sport event.

Soon though, the route parts company with the race-track and heads into the woods of Barbondale and more bluebells…

P1180756

Better yet to emerge from the woods into the sunshine…

P1180760

I initially assumed that this…

P1180761

…was a Hawthorn, covered in Mayflower, but it wasn’t…

P1180762

I think it might be an apple-tree. There were a couple more close-by. Maybe there was an orchard here once, when valleys like this one were more populous?

High on the hillside to my left, I spotted an unusual cairn, apparently with a chamber inside it…

P1180764

It wasn’t to be the last unusual cairn on the walk.

I chatted to a birdwatcher, who asked me if I had seen anything good? He reported Pied-flycatchers and could hear Willow Warblers nearby. I had nothing so interesting to share. But, soon after passing him, spotted a pair of Reed-buntings and then…

P1180765

…a Red-start. This was only the third time I’ve seen one and my best photo yet, although, obviously, still room for improvement. I waited to tell my new bird-watching friend, but then felt guilty because we couldn’t find it again among the trees.

P1180766

I also briefly glimpsed a raptor in pursuit of another bird just above the hillside, but soon lost sight of both. This heron…

P1180769

…sailing purposefully by, was much more obliging.

P1180773

Barbon Beck and Barbondale.

P1180775

A warbler. Could be one of those Willow Warblers?

P1180777

I heard some strange, harsh bird calls, which made me think of grasshoppers, and so thought perhaps they came from Grasshopper Warblers. I saw a few of the birds, low in the vegetation, but this is the only photo I managed. Having looked in my guide, I’m pretty sure that this is not a Grasshopper Warbler, but apart from that, am none the wiser.

P1180780

This stream, which feeds into Barbon Beck and is therefore another one of the Lune’s vast tree of sources, is not named on the map, but is, in turn, fed by several smaller streams including Hazel Sike, Little Aygill and Great Aygill. The road bridge which crosses it, however, is called Blindbeck Bridge, so I suppose this must be Blindbeck.

P1180781

Castle Knott and Calf Top.

P1180782

I was impressed with the situation of Fell House, in a remote position above Barbondale.

P1180783

I’ve seen lots of butterflies this month, but have struggled to photograph any of them. This one looks like a female Orange-tip, but has confused me because it has no wing-spots.

P1180789

The top of the beck obviously changed in nature, becoming steeper sided with outcrops of rock, I think because the underlying rock was now limestone.

I watched this bird of prey,…

P1180790

…presumably a Kestrel, hovering in roughly the same spot for ages as I climbed beside the beck. Later I watched a pair swoop across the hillside and both alight in the same tree, where I assume there was a nest, although I couldn’t see it.

P1180795

Bullpot farm.

P1180798

Cuckoo Flower.

P1180802

Female Wheatear.

The short road walk from Bullpot Farm was enlivened by numerous birds, mainly Wheatears and Meadow Pipits which were flitting around the drystone walls on either side. Also by the expansive views…

P1180805

Gragareth and Leck Fell House.

And by the calling of two Cuckoos. In fact, the sounds of Cuckoos had accompanied me most of the way up Barbondale too.

The highpoint of Barbon Low Fell is unnamed on the OS map, but I notice online that other walks have used the name Hoggs Hill, which is nearby on the map. In the absence of any better suggestions, I shall do the same.

As I approached Hoggs Hill then, I noticed another raptor, a Kestrel again I think, sat calmly on a wall, watching me.

P1180812

I scrabbled to get my camera pointing in the right direction and focused, but the bird was away before I managed that…

P1180816

Hoggs Hill.

P1180817

Middleton Fells from Hoggs Hill.

P1180819

Crag Hill and Great Coum.

P1180820

Forest of Bowland.

P1180825

Brownthwaite Pike.

P1180828

Close to the top of Brownthwaite Pike there’s an absolutely huge cairn. It’s so big that you can see it from Kirkby on the far side of the valley below. I can’t find any reference to it on the Historic England map, but there’s plenty of speculation online about the possibility that it might be ancient and perhaps a burial cairn.

P1180832

You can see why this spot might have been chosen as it commands clear views over the Lune Valley, the Bowland Fells and Warton Crag , where there was a hill-fort.

P1180829

I descended by this…

P1180834

….arrow-straight lane.

P1180836

Looking towards the hills of home.

From the lane I could look down on an ancient site which is recorded on the Historic England map…

P1180837

Casterton Stone Circle.

P1180848

Here’s another view of the henge from a little further down the lane. I’ve read that the stones only protrude slightly above the surrounding turf, but it certainly stands out from a distance.

Closer to hand, on the verges of the lane, there was lots of Lady’s Mantle coming into flower…

P1180839

And also many spears of Bugle…

P1180840

But what I appreciated particularly was the way the two were frequently growing together, intermingled…

P1180844

There was also a bit of what I think was Sheep’s Sorrel about. This one…

P1180845

…growing on a tree trunk.

P1180846

The leaves certainly had the refreshing, citrusy flavour characteristic of both Common and Sheep’s Sorel, and I munched on a few as I walked.

P1180852

The track brought me to the minor road which lead, ultimately to Bullpot Farm and I turned to follow it in the opposite direction, downhill.

P1180863

Crosswort.

P1180864

I think that this must be the wind farm which I photographed last summer from Burns Beck Moss.

I turned on to Fellfoot Road, another track, and found…

P1180870

…several small sheepfolds each with a large boulder inside.

P1180871

They are Andy Goldsworthy sculptures.

P1180872

There are sixteen of them in all, but I only passed four of them on this walk.

P1180873

I’m a big fan of Goldsworthy, but don’t know quite what to make of these. I’ve walked past some of them a couple of times before. One day, I suppose I will walk the entire lane and collect the full set.

P1180874

It was getting rather late now.

P1180875

So I was hurrying to get back to my car in Barbon and didn’t stop for long to admire Whelprigg…

P1180876

…a rather grand house built, apparently, in 1834.

Another glorious evening outing.

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 21.06.52

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 21.01.40

Barbondale, Brownthwaite Pike, Casterton Stone Circle

A New England

P1180741

Another sunset from the Cove. (It must be ages since I last posted one?)

P1180742

Another evening stroller commented as I passed: “Look at the Power Station – it looks like it’s on fire!”

P1180737

Heysham Nuclear Power Station.

Sometimes even the ugliest of things can catch the light just right.

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them, but they were only satellites

from A New England by Billy Bragg

Something else I don’t usually see in the village…

P1180745

…Morris Dancers.

A New England

Wildflowers on Heald Brow.

P1180419

Meadow Ant mounds on Heald Brow.

The Friday evening of the first May Bank Holiday weekend. TBH and Little S had tootled off to Dublin for their rugby tour. The team had had a surprise good luck message from “you know, that England rugby player, Dylan Thomas”, as TBH put it. Turned out to be Dylan Hartley, which is almost as impressive.

A and B and I were also going away, but A had a DofE training event on the Friday night and Saturday morning, so I decide to take advantage of the good weather we were having and get out for a local ramble.

P1180424

The ‘force that drives the green fuse’ had been hard at work and Heald Brow was resplendent with trees bedecked with new-minted leaves and a host of wildflowers.

P1180421

Primroses.

P1180423

Cowslips.

P1180427

Early Purple Orchid.

I walked a small circuit around Heald Brow and stumbled across an area carpeted with Primroses…

P1180436

If anything, this is even more impressive than the patch nestled in the limestone pavement at Sharp’s Lot which I am always keen to visit each spring.

P1180434

In amongst the standard yellow flowers were some variants…

P1180433

In the past, I’ve always assumed that these colourful exceptions were garden escapees, but now I’m wondering whether it was simply mutations like these which led to the selective breeding of the diverse variants which are now available for gardens.

P1180432

P1180431

Bugle.

I dropped down to the salt-marsh.

P1180443

Warton Crag.

Which, unfortunately, left me in deep shade for some time.

P1180442

P1180445

Scurvygrass.

P1180448

Gorse at Jack Scout.

P1180453

A Jack Scout shrub – shaped by the lashings of salty winds off the Bay.

P1180459

Sunset from Jack Scout.

Wildflowers on Heald Brow.